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Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has issued a warning to local industries about endangering the safety and health of their employees.
It reported that in January 2016, there were nine fatal workplace accidents in the country.
“While investigations into the accidents are ongoing, preliminary findings indicate ineffective implementation of risk assessments, absence of fall protection plans and/or unsafe work procedures were contributory factors,” a press release from MOM stated.
It added that in view of the spate of accidents, the Ministry is stepping up its enforcement efforts.
A total of 500 workplaces island-wide will be inspected over the next four weeks to ensure that safety and health standards are maintained.
MOM explained this stepped up enforcement campaign follows an earlier enforcement operation, code name “Operation Cormorant” that was conducted over eight weeks, from 15 October to 15 December 2015.
“Over 1,150 workplaces were inspected, with a focus on work at heights, crane safety and traffic management. In total, more than 1,900 WSH contraventions were uncovered and close to $450,000 in fines were issued, with fines ranging from $1,000 to $65,000 per inspection. 14 workplaces were also issued with Stop Work Orders.”
MOM reminded companies that under the workplace safety and health (WSH) Act, they may be fined up to $500,000 for the first offence for failing to ensure workplace safety and health.
Individuals can also be fined up to $200,000 and/or imprisoned up to 24 months for offences under the Act.
Er. Ho Siong Hin, commissioner for workplace safety and health said, “Most of these accidents could have been prevented with proper risk assessment and effective implementation of preventive measures. Every worker is entitled to a safe workplace and employers have the responsibility to provide it. We will take errant contractors and employers that expose their workers to unnecessary risks to task.”